After Escaping Communism and Pirates, This Entrepreneur Has Google-Size Ambitions

By Ilan Mochari in Inc.

In September 1978, 12-year-old Christopher Nguyen’s job was to hold a compass on a small boat floating down the Mekong River. His mother, four older sisters, and about 30 other refugees were on board. He had to make sure the boat was sailing southeast toward Thailand or Malaysia — whichever they reached first — at the proper velocity.

It was a moonless night in the middle of monsoon season; not a night when the government would be on its highest alert for a refugee boat escaping under cover of darkness. Which is exactly how Nguyen’s mother had planned it. And she’d planned it by herself. Nguyen’s father, a soldier in the South Vietnam army, was in an internment camp.

For Nguyen, it was the start of a very long, winding journey that would eventually lead to Silicon Valley.

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